Notre Dame Football: 3 Recruits Who Will Start as Freshmen
Now that each member of Notre Dame's 24-member recruiting class has signed his national letter of intent, the conversation of who among the star-studded haul may earn a starting spot by the time the Irish begin their 2013 season against Temple on Aug. 31 can begin in earnest.
And while any discussion concerning any vacant starting positions is purely speculation, it's a constructive way to fill the time of the long, arduous offseason.
So, without further ado, I present my thoughts on three freshmen who I believe will earn starting gigs for the Irish in 2013.
John Montelus, OG
Prior to the Irish's season-opening contest against Temple on Aug. 31, they'll need to select a replacement for incumbent starting right guard Mike Golic Jr., who has exhausted his collegiate eligibility.
Nick Martin, the younger brother of starting left tackle, Zack Martin, was thought to be a candidate to replace Golic Jr. at one point, though he is currently listed as the Irish's backup right tackle due to Tate Nichols' chronic leg injury that may force him to redshirt the 2013 season.
That current scenario has, potentially, opened a door for John Montelus, a 4-Star offensive guard, per 247sports.com.
Typically, offensive line prospects redshirt as freshmen to pack weight onto their frames, though that's not the case with Montelus.
The Everett, Mass., native checks in at 6'5" and 305 pounds, rendering Montelus as a viable candidate to start as a freshman.
Tim Prister of IrishIllustrated.com, as part of a national signing day special, gave his take on each of the Irish's 24 commitments. Following are his thoughts on Montelus.
Loads of potential for this interior offensive lineman who does a great job of leaning on a defender and bringing his feet while maintaining his balance. Uses a power punch to his advantage. Sets a wide pass-blocking base and uses his hands equally well in the passing game as he does the running game. A prototype offensive guard. Lumbers and is a bit stiff-legged in the open field. But has as-good-as-he-wants-to-be ability if he can get himself in great physical condition.
Max Redfield, S
Notre Dame will be on a mission to replace free safety Zeke Motta, who was a four-year starter in the Irish secondary.
Nicky Baratti, a member of the Irish's 2012 recruiting crop, was Motta's backup last season, though he doesn't appear to be Notre Dame's starting free safety of the future.
That distinction belongs to Max Redfield, a 5-Star safety, per 247sports.com, who committed to Notre Dame roughly one month ago, after having been previously committed to USC.
Though Redfield has displayed all the tools necessary to be a dominant receiver at the collegiate level, the 6'2", 195-pound California native projects at safety for the Irish, particularly because of the vacant spot left by Motta.
Here's Tim Prister's take on Redfield:
A strong, explosive, difference-making athlete. Athletic enough to play cornerback; fast and elusive enough to play receiver, but a natural safety on the collegiate level. Great suddenness and change of direction. A spring-loaded athlete who bounces around the football field. Has a knack for reaching the pinnacle of his leap to make a play on the ball. Carries himself with a high degree of confidence. Could be a dangerous return man as well. An impact player from the outset of his collegiate career. A rare athletic catch for the Irish at safety. A legit five-star prospect.
Greg Bryant, RB
Because Notre Dame will be without the services of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood in 2013—each have taken their talents to the NFL—the Irish will be in need of an every-down back.
Greg Bryant, a 4-Star running back, per 247sports.com, fits that bill perfectly.
The Delray Beach, Fla., native doesn't possess the breakaway speed that a shiftier back such as Amir Carlisle or George Atkinson possesses, but what Bryant does boast is a durability that will allow him to be a feature back for the Irish.
Remember, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly prefers to employ a starter-by-committee approach at running back, meaning that the "starter" label doesn't carry as much as weight as many would assume it to.
Here's Tim Prister's take on Bryant:
"A complete back in terms of burst, vision and cutting off a squared up wide base. A darting, shifty back with size. Maintains northern progress when making cuts. A combination power back with some elusiveness. Also shows the ability to catch the football out of the backfield, which is a key ingredient for a running back in the Kelly system. Soft hands. Receives the football effortlessly. The only apparent shortcoming is elite breakaway speed, but has more than enough assets to compensate."